Earlier today science educator and scientist Bill Nye, best known for his children’s science program Bill Nye the Science Guy back in the ’90s, was interviewed by the Huffington Post. He was asked a series of questions, of which came from fans and those listening in. One question in particular, however, stood out from the rest – Do you believe in God?
I love Bill’s response, but then also find myself somewhat confused by his apparent backtracking soon after. He answered the question, “Do you believe in God?,” quite clearly in only one word – “No.” He then proceeds by stating, “But you can’t actually KNOW whether or not there’s a God,” which is also true. But then he states that the best term to describe him would be Agnostic.
The reason I find this to be backtracking on Bill Nye’s part is because of the fact that he already answered the question as best as possible – a quick and simple ‘No.’ Meaning, he’s an atheist. To then state the obvious that no one could possibly know for sure whether or not there’s actually a God is a bit irrelevant, just as saying you’re an Agnostic is quite irrelevant.
Understand, the question asked to Bill was whether he BELIEVED in God, not whether he KNEW if God existed. This was clearly a belief question, not a knowledge question. Fact of the matter is that the vast majority of atheists are also agnostics, but is simply too irrelevant of a term to care about. Of course we don’t KNOW if God exists or not, but our DISBELIEF in a God is the result of the complete lack of evidence of any God whatsoever.
In my opinion, Bill should’ve just stopped after he said ‘No.’ (I also highly recommend reading my other blog post which goes into this topic further, “Atheism, Agnosticism, and the Religious Notion of Creation/Resurrection“)